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INTRO 26 yr old failed multiple times (but still there) entrepreneur

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pashka

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Jun 24, 2018
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Toronto
Hello and welcome to my rant post, my fellow forum member!
I have to pardon myself in advance, I'm not that talky in real world (not talky at all actually).

My name is Pavlo (although when I say it 9 times out of 10 people confuse it with Pablo. It's fine, I got used to it) and I'm an entrepreneur. I live in the very multicultural and modern city of Toronto, Canada for the past > 2 years.

I'e heard that many people find this forum and then discover two books this way, for me the opposite happened. Somebody recommended me the Millionaire Fastlane and that's how I found the forum.

The books themselves turned my mindset upside down. After reading a boatload of slow lane preaching "masterpieces" and actually practicing their sayings this was like a gulp of fresh air. In those "skip your starbucks and turn saved $5 into $10000 later" stories was something that bothered me. Every time I did math it looked too slow on the paper (guess what - that means it'd be even worse in reality). And overall world view is very appealing to me. The way MJ talks about how people know every step of some celebrity person but yet can't remember 9/11 tragedy date.

Anyways my entrepreneurial endeavours begun years ago when startups were cool and whether you was in IT or not (but especially if you was) making your own startup was a must and a feature of a gentleman. So I said to myself - "ok, I know how to code, that means I need to build something". What said has to be done, so I started working on my own surveying platform. I did a prototype but to sell it (as I thought back then) I wasn't endowed with right skills and persona type so I opted to find a partner who has all the necessary skills. A friend of a friend did just fine so we went out there and tried to sell our software to a local tv news agency. Got our "this is boolshit" response (this was actually their exact words) and turned away never coming back. Visited a few more "prospect customers" and eventually quit. That was 2012.

Then in 2015 I somehow stumbled across online course on how to sell stuff on Amazon. All about importing random stuff from alibaba and selling in the US (being yourself god knows where, without touching or seeing the merchandize yourself lol). Needless to say that didn't go too far and I quit facing troubles opening a US bank account for my new fresh remotly-created LLC.

Then was affiliate marketing (quit once realized that a product I was selling was total crap and I was basically fooling people), not to say that all I was managed to sell was $300-something worth of digital product.

Then I decided that I need some big changes in my life and moving to another country seemed like the one. That would also resolve tons of problems related to inability to work with major payment gateways, bureaucracy and other inconveniences crippling my business dream. So I did. Picked Canada and in Nov 2016 my wife and I became new Canadian locals hehe. It took another year and a half (while I was learning everything about e-commerce) to get my status in the country in order so that I can legally start business activity.

It happened and in Nov 2017 I got my company registered and voila - new drop-shipping soldier was born.. What seemed like an easy-to-start business (violating Entry command) actually turned to be not that easy (if you don't follow the conventional wisdom in the space).

Now, it's the beginning of 2019 and here's what we got. Countless of hours were spend chasing for new trendy products. Numbers of sleepless nights spent on learning video & photo editing. Tons of hours spent on learning PPC ads, Facebook algo, copyrighting.

I was getting some meh results that didn't satisfy me. At some point it became so soul draining that I decided to look for an external help. I found a guy who did mentorship to a few other guys and they did pretty well after that. So I opted myself.

This was a 12 week cooperation that was priced at $10k. Fast-forward to now, what's my take on that? Definitely not wasted money. The guy does pretty damn well and he was able to show me stuff that I didn't know existed or even believed so. He also always has this unstoppable positive mentality that energizes everyone around (including me). The way he can look at things from different angles just amazed me. It just mind-blowing how there is another way to solve a problem that nobody thought about before. Probably the only person like that I know.

With some extensive help I changed my strategy and tried doing some POD (print on demand). Yeah classic t-shirt business except I had my own private supplier who beats most of the others by price/quality ratio.

This time it did go somewhere and I got my first product that people genuinely wanted to get. If before I was able to hit $2-3k revenue a month (simply by throwing money into ads) this time I did $15k in a month. The most I ever done in such a period of time. One day I was like a mad scientist testing different ads scaling strategies and hit $1.4k revenue (holly sh*t!) - ultimately loosing like $300 that day.

This was said not to brag or something (nothing really to brag about when you make $15k only to have profits deeply below zero at the end of the month). Rather I wanted to share a point that this experience was quite informative and stressful. Customer support took the major portion of the whole time spent on this venture, something I always neglected while day-dreaming my future business machine. In fact it was a crucial part of it. All in all it's been a great experience and I continue working on it (although my supplier is in China so it's kind of a lay low season due to their New Year). I keep thinking about the value I provide to my customers and how I'm different from everybody else in the same business and I'm having hard times finding honest answers to those questions.
Yes there is possible future of this business model - I can develop it into a full featured apparel brand - another Zappos, or Uniqlo, Macs etc.

I was thinking about the value array in such a business and what can I skew and some ideas I got so far look like this:
* improve product images (use models/templates/etc to make it look more real)
* improve checkout experience (make it single page, add some autocompletes etc)
* improve website loading speed
* create product review videos with help of video bloggers
* improve clarity of sizes
* improve trust by adding phone number
* add more
* utilize alternative marketing channels (Instagram, Google shopping cart etc)

Some more profound ones:
* improve delivery speed
* ???

I'd love to hear some ideas from those who's further ahead in the similar business and of course from those who aren't.

Thanks for reading this far, I really appreciate you spending your precious time and digging into my story.
 

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Thomas Chauvet

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Jun 26, 2017
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Dijon, France
Welcome !
What's the main differences between your current approach in dropshipping compared to when you begun ?
 
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pashka

pashka

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Jun 24, 2018
44
60
115
Toronto
Awesome intro, welcome aboard my friend.
WOW, I can't believe someone replied and not just someone but @MJ DeMarco himself!
Thank you so much for creating this awesome place where anybody can get information otherwise inaccessible! I kinda knew about the forum but only now decided to dive a little deeper and see what people have to say here and man I was reading like it was a new Harry Potter book, could only stop at 2am.

Also wanted to thank you personally for destroying one of my old limiting believes. My whole life I've been thinking that I'm not good for business since I'm way "introverty" for that. I don't feel comfortable approaching strangers like others do or speaking in front of a crowd or this or that. For a long time I thought I can't be whatever I wanted to be just because I was born like that way. Shish, what a BS.


P.S. I didn't think anyone would read it through, all in all copywriting says people's attention span is going down every year so we should keep our texts concise and straight forward ;)
 
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pashka

pashka

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Jun 24, 2018
44
60
115
Toronto
Welcome !
What's the main differences between your current approach in dropshipping compared to when you begun ?

Hi! Thank you! This is an awesome place to be, I have already discovered so many threads with very applicable information and advices. The best thing is progress threads - you literally get to peek how people go through the process and make something out of nothing incrementally.


Mainly I changed the way I approach FB ads (I only do FB ads so far, I've heard so many great things about other traffic sources but after 1 year with FB I still can't say I know it well so I keep grinding until I feel more comfortable with it). There are so many factors that can make or break a campaign on FB, literally same exact product advertised to same exact people, launched on the same day can work for one person and totally not work for another one. Another problem is that FB campaign can be profitable for me one day and make losses the next one.

My main goal atm is not just making sales (haha I can sell $100 bills for $50 - that's not hard) but making sales profitably.

Hope this helps
 

RoadTrip

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Nov 27, 2012
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I always tend to think about what MJ refers to as a productcracy. As you have already noticed, this business type has it’s obvious downsides (competition, costs of customer acquisition).

You need to be able to create repeat business. You already mentioned you want to build a brand. That should probably be your starting point.
 
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pashka

pashka

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Jun 24, 2018
44
60
115
Toronto
I always tend to think about what MJ refers to as a productcracy. As you have already noticed, this business type has it’s obvious downsides (competition, costs of customer acquisition).

You need to be able to create repeat business. You already mentioned you want to build a brand. That should probably be your starting point.

This is where I've been confused for a while. I couldn't see any way how this business can bring value to people. E.g. if you're fixing cars - it's obvious, but here it's a bit more subtle. After all, there are so many other places to go buy similar stuff (smells like entry command violation, right?). But I figured out that even if your design can make a few people happier, or proud or maybe make them feel sassy - you brought them some value. Like MJ says in the book - even smiling to a stranger makes value, maybe not a lot but still. So here I decided to become more engaged with my followers and sometimes speaking with them and cheering somebody up feels builds a little piece of value to that person.

As for brand building - this is an exciting and complex process as I see it now. I feel like brand is something that has its own identity, consistency, opinion, recognition - almost like a person. I don't know much about it but I'm learning.
 

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